By TODD KARPOVICH Associated Press
BALTIMORE (AP) — Rookie Yordan Alvarez hit three of Houston’s six homers and drove in a career-high seven runs to help the Astros to the highest scoring game in franchise history with a 23-2 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.
Houston manager A. J. Hinch was awestruck by his team’s extraordinary display of power.
The Astros aren’t showing any type of weakness heading into the final stretch of the season.
“It was obviously a pretty explosive night from the beginning,” Hinch said. “From top to bottom just incredible at-bats, productive at-bats, explosive at-bats and ultimately a comfortable win.”
The victory was the eighth straight for the Astros, who became the latest team to feast on the reeling Orioles. Baltimore has allowed a major league-leading 240 homers and lost five straight.
It was the second 20-run game in Astros history. Houston also beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 21-5 on Oct. 2, 2015. The 13 extra-base hits set a franchise record.
Alex Bregman, who went 3 for 3, and Alvarez set the tone with back-to-back homers in the first inning. Alvarez added the grand slam in the seventh and a two-run shot in the ninth.
Jose Altuve hit his fourth home run in his last seven games in the second. Carlos Correa hit another home run an inning later with a 474-foot shot that cleared the bullpens in straightaway center.
“It’s really hard to explain what happened today,” Altuve said. “A great game for us. A lot of good at-bats put together.”
Yuli Gurriel tied a career-high with four hits for Houston.
Aaron Sanchez (5-14) made his second start for the Astros after being acquired from Toronto on July 31. He allowed one run and three hits with six strikeouts and three walks over five innings.
The Orioles are coming off a series where they tied an MLB record by allowing 16 home runs in three games against the Yankees. Baltimore did not allow multiple homers for the first time in 12 games in the opener against Houston.
However, the Astros had a power surge the following night.
The Astros took an early 3-0 lead off Orioles starter Aaron Brooks (2-6) on a two-run homer by Bergman followed by Alvarez’s solo shot. It was the ninth time Houston has hit back-to-back home runs this season.
Houston pulled away with five runs in the second. Josh Reddick started the barrage with an RBI single followed by a two-run homer by Altuve. Bregman had an RBI double and scored on a balk by Brooks. Correa’s solo shot in the third extended the lead to 9-1.
Brooks allowed a career-high nine runs and four homers over just three innings.
“Just ran into a good offense, didn’t execute pitches and had a few things not go my way,” Brooks said.
Rio Ruiz managed his first career pinch-hit home run for the Orioles in the seventh. Baltimore outfielder Stevie Wilkerson made his fourth appearance this season as a reliever, allowing three runs in 1 1/3 innings.
“By the third inning, probably I was planning how was I going to finish this game, and somehow we finished it,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Alvarez has 51 RBIs through his first 45 career games, the most in major league history over that stretch, surpassing Ted Williams’ record of 47 RBIs in his first 45 games in 1939.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (shoulder) was scheduled to pitch Saturday for Double-A Corpus Christi. Peacock, who has been on the IL since June 28, will pitch again Sunday if there are no setbacks.
Orioles: OF DJ Stewart is “symptom-free ” after being placed on the 7-day concussion list with a concussion Tuesday, manager Brandon Hyde said.
Astros: Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA) has won his last five consecutive starts, striking out 10 or more batters in four of those decisions.
Orioles: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (2-5, 4.89 ERA) is looking to snap a two-game skid when he faces his former team (2015) for the first time.